When the Weston Ranch girls basketball team beat Sierra High to close out the Valley Oak League a year ago, the Cougars were hoping a postseason berth would be around the corner, but that berth never came.
After a quick walkthrough of Woodward Park in Fresno, the annual site of the CIF State Cross Country Championships, Ripon High head coach Paul Calkins and his runners settled into their hotel rooms at around 5:30 Friday night for a little rest and relaxation.
Just a short time ago, the Weston Ranch boys basketball squad was the premier team in the Valley Oak League, and the Lathrop Spartans were opening the gym for the hoops program for the very first time. After failing to reach the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, the Cougars are poised to get back to the top of the league, whereas as Lathrop will be working through the exodus of one of its better players.
To be the champs, Ripon Christian's volleyball team must go through the champs.
Manteca and Sierra believe they have what it takes to make a run at the Valley Oak League championship this year.
Earning back-to-back outright championships in the Valley Oak League didn't come easily for Manteca High, and that was with dazzling point guard Kiwi Gardner setting gym floors ablaze.
The setters of the top teams in the Trans Valley and Southern leagues were voted the Most Valuable Players of each conference.
RIPON - The Knights didn't want to be one and done in this year's CIF State Northern California Division V volleyball championship tournament.
RIPON - It's an overused cliché, but the Ripon-St. Helena first-round match in the CIF State Northern California Division IV Championships Tuesday was truly played out like a heavyweight title bout.
In some ways, Ripon High volleyball coach Larry Keethe sees his team as an underdog despite its No. 1 ranking in the CIF Division IV State Championships, which begins today with Round 1 of the NorCal playoffs.
The Valley Oak League season saw the Sonora Wildcats and Oakdale Mustangs have their way along the schedule, but standout play from the other squads didn't go unrecognized, as the VOL's 2010 all-league team was recently announced.
The additions of Hilmar and Orestimba made the Trans Valley League even tougher Ripon High this year, and that was reflected in the all-conference selections.
DAVIS - The streak came to a halt for Ripon High varsity volleyball team.
DAVIS - They proudly held up four fingers.
One streak could continue, while another could come to an end.
Manteca's Loretta Kakala could feel the anxiety building before the start of Friday's game.
RIPON - The Ripon Christian High expected a tough fight from visiting Escalon on Friday.
Valley Oak League-leading Sierra took Lathrop's best punch and cruised to a 65-59 victory Thursday night.
STOCKTON - Weston Ranch High orchestrated a 17-0 run in the second quarter while rolling past Kimball Thursday, 74-51.
RIPON - Riverbank survived a second-half charge from Ripon and escaped with a 43-39 overtime win in a pivotal duel between the Trans-Valley League's first-place teams.
Loretta Kakala and the Manteca High girls basketball team dispatched one rival and appear ready for another.
STOCKTON - East Union came prepared for a track meet but left the sprint spikes at home.
Emery Sipe's conventional 3-point play with 1.4 seconds to go lifted host Oakdale to a dramatic 39-37 win over Lathrop on Wednesday.
Sierra's wrestling team had a good showing at Central Catholic in a Valley Oak League double-dual meet Wednesday but settled for a split. The Timberwolves first topped Lathrop 51-27 before coming up short against the host Raiders, 48-30.
All-Area Girls Golfer of the Year Brooke Riley has committed to Northwestern, one of the top Division I women's golf programs in the nation.
In a first-place battle of teams with similar strengths, experience and Hunter Johnson proved to be the difference for reigning Valley Oak League champion Sierra.
Jourdy Richter drained five 3s and scored a season-high 22 points, and the Ripon girls basketball team had its best offensive game of the season in a 66-26 thrashing of visiting Hilmar on Tuesday.
Ripon Christian boys basketball coach Ron Vander Molen employed various zone defenses with hopes of neutralizing visiting Riverbank's speed advantage in their Trans-Valley League contest Tuesday.
Weston Ranch boys basketball coach Chris Teevan studied his scorebook, marveling at the balance.
SAN JOSE (AP) - The San Jose Sharks have placed forward Tommy Wingels and defenseman Justin Braun on injured reserve.